Man’s views on science, God, and the Church have changed over the centuries. This sample religious studies essay explores Descartes’ views of science and religion.
Descartes’ views on science and religion
For philosophers like Rene Descartes, who were religious, but also trusted science, the 1600s were a difficult but exciting time. Science was really starting to have a lot of major discoveries. People began to learn new ways to study the world. But a lot of the new discoveries went against what religion had taught.
A lot of religious figures and scientists both tried to decide which one was right, science or religion. There were some philosophers who tried to figure out how they could both be right. One of these people was Rene Descartes. Because he was a faithful Catholic who also cared about the new scientific developments, he tried very hard to make both science and religion make sense together.
In The Path of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder, and Distress, John Marmysz explains Descartes’ morality views and philosophy. Descartes believed that since God created humans, he also created their ability to reason, so anything that was discovered, came from God. Descartes first said that the Catholic Church needed to separate everything that was definitely true from everything that wasn’t.
What he eventually decided was that both science and religion held a lot of important truths but in different ways. He said that science should be used to study the physical, real world and that religion should be used to study the spiritual world. He believed both words were real, but that they could not be studied in the exact same way. Because both science and religion exist in the world that God created, and they both come from the same creator, they have the same basis. For Descartes, this meant that if science could exist, religion could coexist along side of it.
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Marmysz, John. The path of philosophy: truth, wonder, and distress. Student ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.